The simulated environment is not at all a new term for web developers. Specifically, in case of application programming interfaces (API) which might require developing a simulation of their service for testing purposes, virtualization acts as an alternative that leaves the ordinary API explorer or GUI far behind.

Soon after the release of Dropbox API, presently Amazon proclaimed mock integration functionality to their API gateway. Virtualization advances the mock testing while enabling API calls and simulated responses that get coded in the early stage of the app development lifecycle and further allowing both API developers and providers to measure performance in précised techniques before the official API launch.

Since web API development is turning out to be more iterative, few vendors are pushing simulation as a solution for keeping the complete API platform agile. Before getting into the details, let’s understand what exactly virtualization is, then move forward to API virtualization, and its benefits for the software testing industry.

Understanding Virtualization

If a few years back, you were asked to check whether particular software is working accurately or not over multiple operating systems and browsers, what would you do? Set up numerous PC with different operating systems and browsers and test the software over all of them individually? Of course, you would have done that only as there is no other alternative available. However, you don’t need to do that anymore. The technology evolution brings a sigh of relief for the software testing industry as the testing process has become simplified, less-time consuming, and accurate as never before. An ideal example that justifies this and enables us to test software on a local platform is virtualization.

Virtualization is building a virtual version of any desired operating system, network, server, storage, instead of using the actual OS over different PCs. With this, a user or a specifically a software tester can envision a visualized form of different OS and browsers operating over a single platform. Utilizing virtualization, users can build a system of desired memory, browse, operating system, and other specifications on the hardware system. Operating system virtualization enables hardware devices for running numerous OS while keeping the hardware unaware that the OS is being operated virtually.

Virtualization is a broad arena where you can segment and virtualize your infrastructure over several points. The most prominent virtualization techniques that you’ll go through regularly are network virtualization, storage virtualization, server virtualization, data virtualization, desktop virtualization, and application virtualization.

Over to API Virtualization

API virtualization enables a user to isolate modules and simulate non-network based and external APIs. The runtime behavior simulation implements a tool that builds a virtual copy of API which emulates the behavior of the ultimate production version. Rather than set up a distinct server stack to copy production, API virtualization enables you to simulate the least behaviors of multiple API endpoints.

While counting on API virtualization, developers can build virtual APIs rather than production APIs allowing continuous and thorough testing while the API is in-between its development phase.  As you mimic the specifications and behaviors which will be found in the final production API, virtualization enables you to carry out the testing during and in the early stage of the development lifecycle while minimizing the pitfalls that might result in delay production and time-to-market. API virtualization is gaining adoption from a wide number of enterprises and major industry leaders for enhancing their productivity, dropping the testing costs, and deploying high-quality APIs in the minimum timeframe.

Benefits of API Virtualization for Testing

Test Failure in a Secure Background

Curious to know how error message operates or how rate limit functions? As per the user’s vision, a virtual API seems and acts as a real service. But apart from live runtime, virtualization is utilized for simulating drastic situations. You can use an emulator for simulating real-time behavior such as downtime, delayed API responses, to experience how an application will behave while encountering these problems.

Productive Development

For developers, dependency injection is a tough scenario and writing mocks seem pointless in the long term. API virtualization offers the capability to minimize redundancies in the development phase and focus on an effective and regular integration process.

Reduced Costs with Isolated Performance Testing

In an ordinary app development process, users might simulate other APIs while in an independent process, relying on mock code simply mimics the API on which the user doesn’t have any control. Once you virtualize your own API, API platform vendors can remove these hassles, and enable better sharing with the API developer users. And as running test servers is an expensive approach, and requires performance testing is widely unknown during the beginning stage of development. In case the micro costs acquired for API calls pile up, the API developer can save huge capital while relying on a virtualized API, instead of performance testing on the production version.

[Related Read: API Testing using Postman]

Minimized Time To Market

APIs are different from ordinary products since probable revenue is based on a long, two product lifecycle. The first one is the API product itself, under which you need to plan, develop, and build an ecosystem of developer consumers. After this, APIs depend on developers for building great apps prior to the considerable number of calls are made.

Relying on the virtualization strategy, this can be minimized. Delivering a virtual API in a continuous development mode, third party developers can begin creating apps prior to the ultimate endpoint goes live. It directly minimizes the time from when the API was developed to the first call made by an end customer across the third party app.  

Wrap Up

All in all, API virtualization enables curated versions of the API for the developers system to emulate instantly and further offer a comprehensive range of prominent benefits including- improved overall productivity, reduced time to market, a great ecosystem for third-party sandboxing, test real-life instances without the scope of any risks, and removing the requirement for developers to write and rewrite their own mocks. So, we can say API virtualization has miles to go in the software testing industry while making the job of a tester and developer easy.


Munish Garg

Munish Garg, is a Senior Coordinator QA Engineer & Editor associated with BugRaptors. He’s extremely passionate about his profession. His forte in testing is API testing using tools like Rest Assured, Postman etc. He’s a great team player and loves to help everyone. In addition to testing, he’s also fond of writing code which he likes to implement in his domain. He also loves to read and travel to new places.


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